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What Are the Types of Osteoarthritis You Must Know?

What Are the Types of Osteoarthritis You Must Know?

Types of Osteoarthritis - (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

Story At-A-Glance
  • There are many types of arthritis, but the most common one is osteoarthritis.
  • Symptoms of osteoarthritis affect millions of people around the world.
  • What is osteoarthritis and what are the causes of osteoarthritis? It happens when the protective cartilage wears down over time in your joints and no longer cushions the ends of your bones like it used to.
  • Risk factors can be the determinants of the warning signs of osteoarthritis.
  • Osteoarthritis can cause damage to any of your bones, wearing them down over time.
  • Treatment of osteoarthritis can come in many forms, which can make a huge difference to the various types of osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis[1] is a common joint disorder, affecting millions of Americans. The cases of OA increase as the aging population continues to rise, as well as the prevalence of obesity. Still, many other factors lead to the development of osteoarthritis, which could be the primary reasons or causes of osteoarthritis.

What Is Osteoarthritis?

Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint of your body, it remains a very painful disorder usually affecting the knees, hips, spine, and hands. There are two main types of osteoarthritis, even though there are over 100 different kinds of arthritis!

You need to know which type of arthritis you have – to find the best treatment of osteoarthritis for you – including ways to manage it. Although osteoarthritis symptoms can be lessened, the damage to your joints cannot be reversed.

Some of the things you should do are to keep your weight under control, enjoy an active lifestyle, and take excellent treatment plans that can slow the progression of OA and help to improve your joint function and pain.

What Are the Warning Signs of Osteoarthritis and Who Gets Affected?

Warning Signs of Osteoarthritis
There are several reasons for the development of warning signs of osteoarthritis and how people get affected. Let’s see what they are.

  • Aging: Aging should always be viewed as one of the warnings signs of osteoarthritis because many diseases plus OA chances increase as you age.
  • Gender: It seems women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis, although the reasons are not clear.
  • Obesity: Put it simply like this. The more you weigh, the greater your risk for osteoarthritis, particularly your weight-bearing joints, like your knees and hips. Fat tissues produce proteins and these can cause nasty inflammation in and around your joints, which are typical warning signs of osteoarthritis.
  • Joint injuries: When you encounter injuries like those from sports or accidents, you increase the risk of developing symptoms of osteoarthritis. Even those injuries that occurred years back, which you thought had healed can cause osteoarthritis, particularly if you place repeated stress on those joints.
  • Genetics: It is possible to inherit a tendency to develop osteoarthritis.
  • Bone deformities: Some people are born with defective cartilage or malformed joints – doctors may tell you about the warning signs of osteoarthritis as a result.

  • Metabolic diseases: These can be diseases like diabetes, which could lead to a condition called hemochromatosis[2], which is also one of the causes of osteoarthritis.

The Types of Osteoarthritis

The two main types of osteoarthritis are:
Types of osteoarthritis

Primary Osteoarthritis & Secondary Osteoarthritis

1. Primary osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage, which is the rubbery material that allows friction of your joints to be easy, breaks down.

It usually affects fingers, thumbs, spine, knees, hips, and big toes. When you use your joints over and over, particularly in older people, the cartilage gets damaged and becomes painful and swollen.

If you have a severe case of osteoarthritis, you can even lose all the cartilage that is between the bones of the joints, so that they rub together, making it much more painful. You should look out for these painful warning signs of osteoarthritis!

2. Secondary osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage becomes damaged from diseases like diabetes, or medical conditions. These can be obesity, for instance, injuries to your joints, unnatural joints at birth, and things that change the way your body works.

An example could be an unusual way of walking that puts more stress on your bones. Other warning signs of osteoarthritis can be the start of gout[3], hormonal disorders, and even menopause, which affect the levels of estrogen in your body, and can cause secondary osteoarthritis.

Other Types of Osteoarthritis and The Causes of Osteoarthritis in These Areas

1. Hip osteoarthritis.

When you have hip osteoarthritis, your daily activities can be greatly affected. Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the hip can include limited range of motion, stiffness, and pain in the hip, groin, back, or legs.

As the symptoms get worse, hip osteoarthritis can affect your mobility and quality of life greatly. The hip is the third most susceptible body part to develop osteoarthritis, after the hands and knees.

2. Foot and ankle osteoarthritis.

When you walk, stand, and run, the ankle and foot provide shock absorption, support, balance, and other important functions necessary for movement.

Three bones make up the ankle joint, mainly enabling a person to have up and down movements. Unfortunately, the joints of the midfoot, the big toe, and ankle can often get affected by arthritis.

The major arthritic types that affect the foot and ankle are rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis.

3. Osteoarthritis of the knee.

When you have knee osteoarthritis, one of the most common types of osteoarthritis, you will find it difficult to do activities like climbing stairs or even walking. For some, it is a serious disability.

The knee is the strongest, largest joint of the body. The three bone ends that form the knee joint are covered with articular cartilage that protects the knee, acting as a shock absorber.

It is degenerative wear-and-tear arthritis that can affect people over 50, but younger people as well. As the cartilage in the knee gradually wears away, other symptoms of osteoarthritis, such as painful bone spurs are produced.

4. Hand osteoarthritis.

You will know when you have hand osteoarthritis in your hand. You will experience stiffness and pain caused by inflammation that accompanies it. You will feel it the most at the base of your thumb, where it meets your wrist, at the joints closest to your fingertips, or in the middle joints of your fingers. Without getting proper treatment of osteoarthritis, it could get worse, so you need a diagnosis and treatment.

5. Spinal osteoarthritis.

Spinal osteoarthritis is usually inflammation of the facet joints or inflammation of the sacroiliac joints. Often, the inflammation could affect the areas where the tendons and ligaments attach to the bones of the spine.

Osteoarthritis of the spine is the most common form of spinal arthritis. The neck and back[4] can also be affected by spinal osteoarthritis.

6. Shoulder osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis of the shoulder happens when there is a gradual wearing down of the articular cartilage – where you can experience stiffness and pain. It’s a growing problem in the aging population. Certain occupations, like doing heavy construction work or overhead sports can result in osteoarthritis of the shoulder.

7. Cervical osteoarthritis.

This condition involves developing changes in the discs, bones, and joints of the neck. The changes occur from normal wear and tear and aging.

As you age, the discs of the cervical spine gradually break down, affecting mainly middle-aged and elderly people. Because of the disc and other cartilage degenerating, abnormal growths or spurs called osteophytes[5] could form on the bones of the neck.

These are abnormal growths. In severe cases, treatment of osteoarthritis like this could include corrective surgery.

What Are the Causes of Osteoarthritis?

Causes of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that gives you frictionless joint motion deteriorates. The cartilage eventually wears down until bones rub against bones. Osteoarthritis affects the entire joint and causes the bones to change and deteriorate.

Inflammation sets in in the joint lining – that’s exactly what osteoarthritis is – joint inflammation. It is caused by aging, injury from disease and trauma, and can even be hereditary. 

What Symptoms Show Up in Osteoarthritis?

Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis will show up as pain in the affected joints from repetitive use. Osteoarthritis can affect many different joints, so this pain can be expected in the hands, hips, knees, lower back, and neck pain.

Other signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis that you will notice will be swelling of the joints, stiffness, creaking and cracking joints, and even loss of range of motion. You could also develop joint deformity, but this is usually in the more severe cases.

The Treatment of Osteoarthritis for The Different Types of Osteoarthritis

First of all, there is no cure for osteoarthritis. A combination of non-pharmacologic treatments, as well as pharmacologic treatments, can be used. Some top treatments for the symptoms of osteoarthritis will include:

  • Medications
  • Exercise
  • Physical therapy and occupational therapy
  • Losing weight if you are overweight
  • Eating healthily
  • Supportive devices, such as shoe inserts, orthotics, braces, and walkers, etc. are an excellent treatment of osteoarthritis
  • Complementary health solutions, such as vitamins and supplements

  • Surgery, such as Regenokine therapy[6]. This is a new non-surgical procedure that treats mild to severe symptoms of osteoarthritis


Osteoarthritis is a painful, degenerative condition. Nobody wants it, because it can ‘cripple’ your life if left untreated. Over time, it just gets worse. Death is not usually a result of the causes of osteoarthritis; it’s rare. But it can be debilitating to the point that you need to speak to your doctor if it is impacting your quality of life.

Many older people and some young ones with osteoarthritis want to know if there is anything they can do to stop it. In some instances, even the pain from this disease can cause people to walk, stand, or move differently.

This, in turn, can force other joints to go out of alignment and cause the osteoarthritis to spread there too. The best advice is to maintain an ideal weight to avoid overusing the joints and follow an exercise plan to strengthen the muscles and support the joints. Your doctor or therapist can help you with these.

Fortunately, there is hope to reduce the causes of osteoarthritis, and to increase your mobility to enhance the quality of life.

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